The More Things Change...
Disclaimer: I do not own Bones, or any of its characters.
Brennan's chestnut hair is longer, which is hardly surprising. She's been gone a year and good hairdressers are few and far between in the jungles of Indonesia. She is tanned too, and thinner, and though she looks reasonably healthy, she also appears slightly frayed around the edges, as though the past twelve months have taken their toll, and then some. When Angela hugs her, she stiffens slightly, before relaxing and returning her best friend's embrace. And though events play out differently this time – Angela doesn't have to flash anyone for information, and Brennan
hasn't got a human skull in her carry-on – both women are reminded of the last time they were at Dulles International Airport together, six years ago. A lot can happen in six years.
Angela drives Brennan home, talking cheerfully about nothing to fill the silence. They pass the turn-off to the Jeffersonian, and Angela asks Brennan if she would like to swing by, just for five minutes, just to say hi. Brennan declines, claiming exhaustion, and ten minutes later they pull up outside her apartment. It is exactly as she left it, and for a moment Angela feels as though she has stepped a year into the past. When Brennan emerges for the bedroom, having dumped her bags, it's almost jarring to see this new version of Brennan in the old Brennan's home.
'When are you coming back to work, sweetie?' Angela enquires, as Brennan hands her a glass of water (there is no wine in the apartment).
'I told Cam I'd be back on Monday,' Brennan flops onto the sofa. 'I need a few days to adjust to Western society.' She grins slightly, and Angela catches a glimpse of the Brennan whose apartment they're sitting in. Then, as though a floodgate has been opened, conversation starts to flow and they talk for hours, catching up, rehashing things said in emails and phone calls, filling each other in on the minute details of their lives over the past year. Angela talks about being married to Hodgins, about work, and Cam and Sweets, and the interns. She carefully avoids mentioning Booth, and Brennan doesn't ask. Angela is still not sure what happened between them, but she knows that they've barely kept in contact, and she knows that Booth is the one who has been the most stubbornly incommunicado.
Jet lag is starting to catch up with Brennan, who is yawning more and more frequently, and contributing less and less to the conversation, so Angela leaves, promising to call tomorrow. Brennan says goodbye at the door, before falling into bed, grateful that she has jet lag to help her sleep. She wasn't lying when she told Angela that she needed time to adjust to her surroundings, but it wasn't the cultural differences between America and Indonesia that she had been referring to. It is simply weird, having spent a year living in a tent, to be in a bed with proper sheets, in a room with electric lights, only 10 metres from a bathroom with running water. The absence of ambient sound is unnerving. Her room is totally quiet, and completely dark. In Indonesia, there had usually been some light, even in the middle of the night; light from the moon, or the dying campfire around which she had her fellow researchers had spent their evenings. Here in D.C., in her comfortably furnished apartment, Brennan feels very far away from the never-silent jungle. As she falls asleep she wonders idly whether the first humans to make the move from temporary shelters, cheek-by-jowl with nature, to the more permanent, solid and seemingly indestructible early houses felt the same way.
Seeley Booth slides out of bed at quarter-to-six, being careful not to disturb Jo. He isn't successful. She mumbles something only semi-comprehensible, rolls over and runs a hand through her hair.
'What's up?' she looks up at him, bleary-eyed and tousled. Booth smiles.
'Nothing. Just going to the gym.'
'Mmkay,' she's teetering on the edge of sleep. 'Have a good day, babe.'
'You too.' Her toes are peeking out from under the edge of their comforter. Booth tickles them affectionately as he passes, and she makes a small sound of protest. Gym bag in hand, Booth leaves grinning.
He spends an hour on the treadmill, listening to his iPod. When Foreigner's Hot Blooded comes on, he skips it. It is almost seven-thirty when, weights and cardio done, he heads for the men's locker room. He showers quickly, and gets changed into his standard suit, funky socks and skinny tie. The Cocky belt buckle is missing. In it's place is a buckle with the Green Lantern's logo on it; a Christmas gift from Jo. Lacking a comb, Booth runs a hand through his hair as he fishes for his cell phone in the side-pocket of his bag. He checks his schedule, and then flips to messages. There is one. From Angela. It says: 'She's back.'
Brennan jerks awake, her heart hammering in her chest. For minute, she has no idea where she is, and her panic intensifies. After several seconds, her eyes adjust to the semi-darkness and she realises that she is at home. Her pulse is still elevated, though she has no idea why; she can't remember dreaming. Light is filtering through the heavy blinds, and Brennan turns to glance at her bedside clock, only to find that it is not working. Dragging herself out of bed, she wanders into the kitchen. The clock above the refrigerator reads ten o'clock. Mentally chiding herself for allowing the jet lag to get the better of her, she fixes a cup of coffee and, drinking it, stares out the window. She can't see much, only the apartment building opposite hers, but that is enough to ground her, to bring her back to the here and now, and the small crease between her eyebrows, the one that has been there since she woke up, disappears.
Booth feels his stomach somersault – with anxiety, dread or excitement, he's not sure which – as he grasps the full meaning of Angela's message. Temperance Brennan is back from Indonesia.
Bones is back.
So, the point of this chapter is to set the scene for what will come later. Brennan has been pouring over human remains in Indonesia for a year, Booth has a girlfriend - Jo - and Angela and Hodgins are married.
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